Council approves one year contract with sheriff

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide law enforcement coverage for the City of Buffalo Center in 2020, as the City Council approved a one-year contract with the sheriff’s office at its Jan. 8 meeting.

The City has been looking for a new police officer since the resignation of previous Police Chief Matt Holmquist last August, and the Council has not ruled out hiring its own officer. However, Council members discussed that approving a contract with the sheriff’s office now would address the City’s immediate need for law enforcement coverage and give them time to continue looking for a full-time officer.

With the contract, Sheriff Dave Peterson says the sheriff’s office will respond to calls 24 hours a day in Buffalo Center, but the one-year contract does not come with a guaranteed number of patrol hours in town each week. Peterson says the sheriff’s office would need to hire an additional officer to guarantee hours, and they would need a more long-term contract with the City to ensure they could pay for the officer. The other communities that contract with the sheriff’s office do so on a four-year basis, and if Buffalo Center decides to sign a four-year contract with his office, Peterson says he would try to hire an officer who would live in Buffalo Center.

If the City drops its contract with the sheriff’s department, Peterson says they would still respond to emergencies in Buffalo Center but not routine calls.

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